INSURGENT ACTIVITY SPREADING IN NORTHERN iHA:LAND
government has suffered its most serious setback to date at the hands of tribal insurgents in the north.
army relief force was ambushed entering the area, and thecontinue to hold the site.
mid-April, anommunist-led insurgentsa border security post in Chiang Rai Province. They killedf theefenders andweapons, communications equipment, and security-related documents. The insurgents are reported to have increased their strength in the immediate area and to have challenged government forces to retake the post. An
The postmbe of nearby tribal villagesa the center of the government's effort to expand itshe area. The insurgents'indicates that they have decided to expand their activity from adjacent Nan Province, whic has been the cantor of guerrilla activity in the north for sovere months. The success of the atta provides further evidence that the insurgents are well led and highly motivated.
Although Thai strong man General Praphat has referred to "drastic action" to counter the growing threat in the north, so far there is no indication that Bangkok is backing offecision it made last month to de-emphasize the purely military aspects of the counterinsurgency effort. The army, for example, is moving ahead with plans to rerihal security force, one of the steps proposedonger range solution to the sit nation. Bangkok is also continu ing its negotiations with Chines irregular commanders in the area to gain their help against the guerrillas, but with littleso far.
he' government is also.benign taccics in deal-ng^/ithithe' tribal people. differs fromrovince, thererowing appreciation byies in both Bangkok andountryside that indiscriminate bombing of tribal villages and
the wholesale relocation of have created more problems than they have solved. the government will be hard put to reverse the deteriorating security situation in the northern border areas.
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